Can We Categorize Chipmunk as Part of Brown Squirrel?
Categorizing an animal in a group is indeed a legitimate thing to do. But did you know that grouping animals can’t be done carelessly? It needs to be a deep scientific study to be able to categorize an animal in a group.
Besides Chinchillas and Guinea Pigs that may have similarities and differences, the Chipmunk and Brown Squirrel may have the same appearance. Chipmunk is small, striped rodents of the family Sciuridae. They are omnivores. They eat mainly those consisting of seeds, nuts and other fruits, and shoots. They also usually eat grass and many other forms of plant material, as well as fungi, insect, and other arthropod, small frog, worm, and bird egg. The chipmunk mostly forages on the ground, but they climb trees to get nuts like hazelnut and oak seed. In the early fall, many squirrel species began to hoard food that was not rotten for the winter. Cheek pouches allow the Chipmunk to bring food item to its burrow for storage or consumption.
Meanwhile, there is no source that states that Brown Squirrel really exists. This is because no squirrel is really classified as Brown Squirrel, considering that most squirrels are brown.
But can Chipmunk be categorized as a Brown Squirrel? Well, let’s we see some facts below.
- Same genus
Chipmunk is included in the Kingdom Animalia. They also entered the phylum in the chordata category. Besides that, Chipmunk is also included in the mammal class. Their order belongs to rodentia, and the last one they belong to family scuridae. All the scientific classification things just mentioned about Chipmunk are 100% the same as squirrel. Have you known the conclusion, dear?
- Same food
Both the Chipmunk and squirrel are omnivorous. The Chipmunk has an omnivorous diet consisting mainly of seeds, nuts and other fruits, and shoots. Just like the Chipmunk, squirrel also eat the same thing. In temperate regions, the beginning of spring is the most difficult time in a year for squirrel because the beans that they buried begin to sprout. During this time, squirrel is very dependent on tree bud. The squirrel that are best known to people are herbivore, they eat various kinds of plants, nuts, seeds, conifer cones, fruits, mushrooms, and green plants. However, some squirrels also eat meat, especially when they faced with starvation. So, it would be very fair if we call the squirrel an omnivore.
- But different physic
This point might make you hesitate to categorize Chipmunk with squirrel. In terms of body shape, both the Chipmunk and the squirrel have very high similarities, but the difference is their face. Chipmunk has a face that is wider than a squirrel. This is due to the bags on their cheeks. These bag’s function is to deviate their food in the mouth. This is the thing that squirrel doesn’t have. They more often store their food reserves in their nest, not in their mouth. But this little difference will not defeat the many similarities mentioned above right?
Now we come to the conclusion. According to the description above, it’s yes to categorize Chipmunk as Brown Squirrel. Although not authentic, according to the explanation of the reasons above we can draw such conclusions even though between Chipmunk and Brown Squirrel have little difference in their physicality. Physical differences are not very meaningful because as we know, Sciurus and Western Grey Squirrel are also included in the category of squirrels even though they have differences in their physical condition.
But we still can’t claim authentically that the Chipmunk is Brown Squirrel. More scientific studies are needed to state it all. Maybe in parts of the world outside of America there (since squirrels are endemic to America) there is actually the original Brown Squirrel. We never know, right? We might be able to claim the Chipmunk as a squirrel but to claim them as Brown Squirrel is too earlier.
What is clear is that whatever the name is, the Chipmunk has features that sometimes make other people forget that they are still rodent. Whatever part of the class that houses them, Chipmunk has the same right to live safely and peacefully. Although sometimes considered a pest because they eat agricultural products such as beans, they are still living beings who try to maintain their lives.